2023-2024 Early NCAA Lineup Looks

Early Line-up Look: South Dakota State Jackrabbits

Early Line-up Look: South Dakota State Jackrabbits

An early breakdown of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits for the upcoming 2023-24 NCAA season.

May 18, 2023 by Kyle Klingman
Early Line-up Look: South Dakota State Jackrabbits


Head coach: Damion Hahn

Assistants: Cam Simaz, Cody Caldwell, Brady Berge, Luke Zilverberg

2023 NCAA tournament finish: 14th

2023 NCAA tournament points: 37

2023 NCAA tournament record: 20-15

2023 Big 12 tournament finish: 6th

2023 dual record: 12-4 (6-2)

Returning national qualifiers: 7 (Tanner Jordan, Clay Carlson, Cael Swensen, Tanner Cook, Cade DeVos, Tanner Sloan, Cade King)

Returning All-Americans: 2 (Clay Carlson, Tanner Sloan)

Last NCAA champion: Seth Gross (2018)

Highest NCAA D1 team finish: 12th (2018)

Highest NCAA team finish under Hahn: 14th (2023)

Most place winners under Hahn: 2 (2023)

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Last 10 NCAA Championships

2013: 66th (Bono)

2014: 66th (Bono)

2015: 53rd (Bono)

2016: 39th (Bono)

2017: 16th (Bono)

2018: 12th (Bono)

2019: 63rd (Hahn)

2020: Canceled (COVID)

2021: 26th (Hahn)

2022: 44th (Hahn)

2023: 14th (Hahn)


A quick glance at South Dakota State’s last 10 NCAA Championships offers an overview of where this team is heading. The program moved to D1 during the 2004-05 season after having top-10 success at the D2 level. 

The Jackrabbits scored zero points at the 2013 and 2014 NCAA Championships before things started to head in the right direction. In 2018, Seth Gross became the first D1 NCAA champion in program history before Chris Bono took the Wisconsin job shortly after the tournament. 

South Dakota State went back to square one during Hahn’s rookie season and scored zero points at the 2019 NCAA Championships. Five years later, the team has made a complete turnaround. 

The 2023 NCAA Championships were remarkable: a program record of eight NCAA qualifiers, two All-Americans, one finalist, and a 14th-place finish. And most of the team is back next season. 

Tanner Sloan made the biggest breakthrough by reaching the 197-pound national finals after qualifying three previous times. It was his first taste of the podium but it might not be his last. Sloan opted to take his COVID year, which gives this team a good starting point. 

Clay Carlson also placed, while three other wrestlers had wins at the NCAA tournament. The Jack Rabbits were 11 points out of 10th place so it will take a few more front-side wins and an additional placer or two to make that happen.

This team is capable, though. Sloan and Carlson are the nucleus but this team has an opportunity to make more history in 2024. 

South Dakota State’s Projected 2023-24 Line-up

125: Tanner Jordan, JR (NQ)

133: Derrick Cardinal, SO

141: Clay Carlson, SR (AA)

149: Alek Martin, SO

157: Cael Swensen, SO (NQ)

165: Tanner Cook, SR (NQ)

174: Cade DeVos, JR (NQ) 

184: Bennett Berge, FR

197: Tanner Sloan, SR (AA)

285: Luke Rasmussen, FR

125: Tanner Jordan, JR
2023 record: 19-17
2023 NCAA tournament record: 1-2

Jordan is the returning starter but Penn State transfer Brandon Meredith will battle for this spot. Meredith hasn’t reached the NCAA Championship yet and Jordan has a consolation win from last year. Hahn has two options here, which should help the team throughout the duration of the season. 

133: Derrick Cardinal, SO
2023 record: 11-15

Cardinal had a losing record during his rookie campaign but faced several of the top wrestlers, including Vito Arujau, Daton Fix, and Aaron Nagao. Lots of returning national firepower at the weight so the goal should be to reach the NCAA Championships next season. 

141: Clay Carlson, SR
2023 record: 28-10
2023 NCAA tournament record: 6-2 (5th)

Carlson has been the most consistent wrestler in Hahn’s line-up for the past three seasons. He finished eighth at nationals in 2021, R12 in 2022, and fifth in 2023. The Willmar, Minnesota, native lost in the second round this year and won five matches on the backside. Winning an NCAA title will be difficult but Carlson will be in the mix in a tough 141-pound weight.  


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Clay Carlson defeated Job Greenwood, 6-5, during a dual

149: Alek Martin, SO
2023 record: 17-14

Martin was the starter last season but went 0-2 at the Big 12 Championships. He keeps most matches close and will have to work hard to make the team again this year. Daniel Kimball was the starter in 2022 and will be in a neck-and-neck race with Martin. 

157: Cael Swensen, SO
2023 record: 24-10
2023 NCAA tournament record: 3-2

Swensen is the right person for the job if Hahn is looking for another All-American. He lost his opening match at nationals and won three consolation matches in a row before falling to Michigan’s Will Lewan in the Round of 12. The Plymouth, Minnesota, native is only a sophomore, but he can make his mark next season by contributing valuable points at nationals. He won three matches but only scored 1.5 points. Swensen needs between five and seven points for the Jackrabbits to have a shot at a top-10 finish. 


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Cael Swensen pinned Ethan Barr during a dual against Kent State

165: Tanner Cook, SR
2023 record: 18-9
2023 NCAA tournament record: 1-2

Cook competed at his first NCAA Championships this year after qualifying for the 2020 tournament that was canceled. He went 1-2 at nationals but his consolation side fall contributed 2.5 points. Another pin or win will be a valuable contribution if he can make it back to the NCAA tournament next season. 

174: Cade DeVos, JR
2023 record: 28-9
2023 NCAA tournament record: 3-2

DeVos is the right person for the job if Hahn is looking for someone to join Swensen as an additional All-American on the 2024 team. He went 3-2 at the NCAA Championships but lost in the second round. 

184: Bennett Berge
2023 record: 11-5

Cade King is a returning national qualifier but Berge is the front-runner at this point. He was 11-5 last season but he wrestled tough competition and has the potential to be a factor at this weight. An in-room battle between King and Berge will only help the team. 

197: Tanner Sloan
2023 record: 27-3
2023 NCAA tournament record: 4-1 (2nd)

Sloan reached the NCAA tournament finals in the wild and wacky 197-pound class. It’s still wild and wacky, but a few of the usual suspects are gone due to graduation. The Alburnett, Iowa, native is known for his top game and that will continue to be his most effective weapon during his super senior campaign. Sloan made big gains and will be the star of a team that needs firepower at nationals. 


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Tanner Sloan reached the NCAA tournament finals with this win over Rocky Elam

285: Luke Rasmussen, FR
2023 record: 10-6

Rasmussen and senior Bowen McConville will battle for this spot. Either will fill a void left by AJ Nevills, who went 2-2 at the NCAA Championships. We are still in the midst of a loaded heavyweight field so points at nationals will be hard to come by here.